First hand understanding

Heath and I watched a movie the other night, Mozart and the Whale. It was really interesting. It gave me a lot of hope for Reed’s future. After all, it’s about a couple of Aspies who lead productive, fairly happy lives. They work jobs, live on their own, and fall in love. It also very accurately portrayed many of his struggles. When the movie was over, Heath and I talked well into the night about it. And we came to a startling conclusion: We are both probably on the spectrum ourselves.

My beloved husband has some serious social deficiencies. We often joke about how he doesn’t “play well with others”. Despite his best efforts, he has a way of alienating people, rather than relating to them. Even after 8.5 years together, I don’t always get him. He struggled in school, partly with the social interactions, but also quite a bit with the academics. He has a knack for numbers (although not to the extent of Josh Hartnet’s character in the movie), but struggles with reading and writing (the grammar and composition, not the actual mechanics of it). When he gets frustrated, he pulls his hair. Hard. He gets really agitated if things don’t go the way he scheduled them.

I also have some trouble with social interaction. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I started to be able to relate and interact with people comfortably. I am still very self conscious, because I cannot guess how people perceive me. I am excruciatingly uncomfortable with eye contact. I read this post a while back, and was nearly jumping out of my chair, yelling “Yes! Exactly!” As a child, I used to rock when I was concentrating. It helped me to focus through the noise in the house. I would sit to do my homework, and rock back and forth. It used to drive my mom nuts. “Sit still and finish your work. You’d be done by now if you’d quit squirming.” She meant well. She just didn’t understand that I Needed to rock in order to not hear my brother and sister running through the house, and my mom and dad talking, and the TV in the other room, and the garbage truck outside, and a thousand other noises catching my attention. I don’t rock anymore, but I do have this unconscious habit of twirling my foot in a circle. All. The. Time. It even drives me nuts, but I can’t stop. I nearly went insane the first week when my leg was in a cast and I couldn’t move my foot. My skin started to crawl, and I was really edgy. I still have trouble with eye contact, which could explain why I’ve been searching for a job for over a year, but still have no job. I try to make a conscious effort to make eye contact at least occasionally, but it’s hard, and I can’t do it while talking or I lose my train of thought.

So there you have it. All these little things that never meant anything to us until we knew that they weren’t “normal” (whatever the heck THAT is). I always thought everybody was like this. Aren’t they?

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Since you asked…

Kristin’s comment deserves to be answered. Her comment on my post about the new blog title was:

Steph- I love Quotes, you picked a good one. Made me happy and sad at the same time when I read it.
Love the new tittle and new look- seems like you have a found a “new place” within yourself too :o)
What brought about the change?

Well, first of all, Thank you. I thought long and hard on the new name. This quote just really stood out to me. It was made by someone with Asperger’s Syndrome. It really spoke to me, so I felt it was the right name for this place in our journey. I’m not really sure where the new outlook came from. Honestly, I can’t put my finger on a particular moment or revelation that changed things. A big part of it was you, my wonderful friends in my computer. Reading your blogs has given me insight that usually takes a long time of first hand experience to gain. Thank you so much for allowing me to take a minor shortcut through some of the heartache and learn from your lessons. I’m sure there are many more to come, but for now, I feel much more confident with my newfound knowledge of Reed and his needs.

So in answer to your question… Well, actually I HAVE no answer to your question. I am still bewildered and overwhelmed much of the time, but the rest of the time, I am better able to appreciate what it is that makes Reed who he is. I have become less about fixing him, and more about enjoying him.

I think I’m doing better, thanks for asking.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

A token of my affection

We tried this once before, but it didn’t go so well. I decided to revive the old token economy after reevaluating what went wrong last time. It’s not going as well as it could, but it’s going much better than last time (which was before we had even a suggestion of Autism, and were operating under the diagnosis of ADHD) . I am optimistic that in a few weeks, he should have the hang of it, and it could be a really useful tool for us. I thought he might have some trouble accepting a new rule requiring him to “pay” for privileges he previously got for free, but so far that doesn’t seem to be his problem. His problem lies in the concept of delayed gratification. As soon as I give him a marble for something, he is anxious to cash it in for something. I keep trying to explain that he should hang on to at least a few of them to save up for the bigger privileges, like trips to the park, and ice cream. But he seems frantic to turn it back into something immediate.

Anybody else tried this system? Any tips? Success stories?

The new name

Heath and I are listening to a fascinating radio show online about Asperger’s Syndrome. There was a quote that struck me as so perfect, that it inspired the new blog title. Even if you’re not dealing with a diagnosis of AS, I highly recommend checking out the program.

http://www.lcmedia.com/mind397.htm

I’ll try to blog more later.